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First glimpse of new cyber safety play

Teachers and governors are having a first glimpse of an interactive play which helps primary school children stay safe online.

In The Net’ is a fun theatre production designed to get seven-to-nine-year-olds thinking about the serious issues of keeping personal information safe, chatting to people online and the effects of cyber bullying.

Over 70 teachers from 52 schools across Leicestershire will watch the performance at a conference tomorrow (Tuesday) to coincide with Safer Internet Day.

Leicestershire County Council’s Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) Team has organised the event and is hoping that the play will roll out to thousands of children at primaries next year.

 

Being online is an important part of young people’s lives, both in school and at home. But, we want them to stay safe and have found that talking to children at a young age is an effective way of influencing their long-term behaviour. Online grooming is often a factor in CSE cases and ‘In The Net’ plays a key part in our work to tackle this.

"The play deals with serious issues but strikes a chord with children through its engaging storyline, fun characters and audience participation, and I hope schools will be keen to stage performances."

‘In The Net’ is a 45-minute play telling the fictional story of Dotty who receives a new Ipad for her birthday. Dotty isn’t safe online though and after posting personal information, chatting to strangers and making rude comments about school friends, she’s ‘pulled’ into her computer. After finding herself caught 'In the Net’, she has to go on a cyber safety quest to find her way home.

Created by theatre company Alter Ego, the play has already toured primary schools in places including Surrey, Devon, Isle of Wight and Kent.

The council’s CSE Team works hand-in-hand with police and NHS staff as part of one, joint team. It focuses on raising awareness about CSE and providing quicker, more effective support to victims. By disrupting offenders, and helping victims feel more confident about disclosing abuse and exploitation, the team is helping to secure convictions.

Around 55 per cent of cases of CSE involve online grooming and exploitation.

 

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